MARYSVILLE – About 508 students in the Marysville School District were homeless at the end of last year.
About 80 percent have some sort of support system. But Deanna Bashour works for the MSD to help the other 20 percent find services.
Marysville United Methodist Church Sunday designated its Miracle House to help homeless families, working with Interfaith Family Shelter in Everett.
“We need more of this,” Interfaith program manager Sabrie Taylor said.
Bashour said many of the students she’s trying to help live in cars or RVs down by the river.
“It impacts the kids terribly,” she said of being homeless. “And we expect them to focus on algebra?”
Taylor said she will work with the families to help them decrease their debt so they can get into their own place in 60 to 90 days.
Miracle House is changing from helping homeless men to homeless families. The church had been working with the city and Everett Gospel Mission the past few years, housing up to three men at a time. Now it will be working with Interfaith, which says it provides non-judgmental access to shelter. That means people are not turned away for substance abuse, mental health or criminal records.
While there, the two families will receive basic needs services; substance abuse/mental health counseling; access to parenting, finance management and healthy living resources; and educational programming/activities for children.
Interfaith has a Family Shelter in downtown Everett that accommodates 11 families at a time. It is one of only two shelters in Snohomish County that accepts single dads and families with teenage sons.
At a ribbon cutting Sunday for the house, Jim Dean of Interfaith said he was excited to add a new place so “families can get out of the cold weather.”
Their goal is to get families in and out of there quickly to help 32 more people in the next year. By working with the school district they hope to get families out of tents and cars and off couches and into stable housing.
Pastor Jenny Smith said church members are cheering them on and made the home a “radically welcome space,” led by middle schoolers who made sure every child’s bed had a stuffed animal on it.
Interfaith also has a Cars to Housing in downtown Everett. It is a safe-parking-and-rehousing program. Interfaith statistics show 30% of homeless live in their cars, and about half are families with children. This program allows them to continue to do that in a safe environment, but also provides them with the same services they would get in their other housing.
Meanwhile, a couple from the church already has helped a previous Interfaith family.
After buying a new car, Kim and Kass Clark donated their old 2006 Saturn Vue to Jeremy and Jazmine Barefield, who moved out of Interfaith housing into their own place three years ago.
With just one vehicle, two working parents, and five kids, “We wake the kids up and get everyone bundled into our car at 5 a.m., just so we can drop Jeremy off at work,” Jazmine said. Smith said, “As soon as I heard that the Clarks wanted to donate their vehicle, I thought of our brand-new partners: the Interfaith Family Shelter.”
By the numbers
•80% of families went from homeless to a home
•94% the number still in housing a year later.
•$25 donation feeds a family of four for five days.
•$100 donation feeds them for a month
•$250 runs Learning Hour children’s program for a week.
•599 people were unsheltered countywide a year ago, 78 in Marysville.
In the past five years Interfaith
•Went from serving 43 families to 68.
•Went from serving 91 kids to 147.